Why would the Winner defer to the Loser in a Football Coin Toss?

Marilyn is Wrong Copyright © 1999-2006 Herb Weiner. All rights reserved.

Ask Marilyn ® by Marilyn vos Savant is a column in Parade Magazine, published by PARADE, 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017, USA. According to Parade, Marilyn vos Savant is listed in the "Guinness Book of World Records Hall of Fame" for "Highest IQ."

In her Parade Magazine column of September 17, 2006, Marilyn is unable to answer why the winner of a footbal coin toss would defer to the loser.

Sorry, Marilyn, but there is an answer

Janet S. Elias <schex9@cox.net> wrote:

Marilyn is wrong about the logic behind the winner choosing to "defer" to the "losers" the choice of receiving the ball to start the game or which goal to defend. If Marilyn doesn't know anything about college football, perhaps a 15-second Google search would enlighten her about the coin toss rule. I know a bit about the general strategy of the coin toss deferment, so after reading her non-answer (which cannot be called "wrong" as it did not answer the question at all), I did such a search, and I quickly found a good explanation at American College Football Rules Questions & Answers (Search for "defer" and read the explanation.) The key to understanding the advantage of deferring is that receiving the ball at the start of the second half (which is closer to the end of the game) has a higher value than receiving the ball to start the game. So, teams which win the coin toss "defer" the choice of receiving the ball at the start of the game to reserve for themselves the right to receive the ball at the start of the third quarter.

http://www.wiskit.com/marilyn/cointoss.html last updated September 24, 2006 by herbw@wiskit.com